Whether you’re a college student creating your thesis for your program of study, or an administrator sitting down to write a grant narrative, a little help with writing is always welcome. No matter what has led you to sit down and put words on the page, the Dictate feature in Office 365 is a game changer. Dictate helps you save time or overcome learning disabilities like dysgraphia or physical limitations.

The Dictate feature in Office 365 applications is one of the several Office intelligence tools built into both the Office 365 desktop apps as well as the web apps, that can help transform the lives of students all over. For customers that are not a part of the Office 365 subscription, the Windows Speech Recognition (WSR) feature built into Windows 7+ can provide a similar service. Go here to learn about Speech Recognition.

How to use Office Dictate feature 

Before using the Dictate feature, make sure to turn on your microphone, and test to see if it is functioning properly. If you don’t know how to test the microphone of the device you are using, select the Windows Start button, then select Settings > Time & Language > Speech. You can setup your microphone by selecting Get started button.

Microphone setup

Steps to use the Dictate

Open an Office 365 app (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook or Publisher).

available apps

In the Home tab, look to the far left of the tab (Microsoft Word as an example), select Dictate. The default language for dictate will be in the default language of your device. 


If the language needs to be changed, select the small arrow button underneath of the microphone icon. If you need to use dictation for a language that is not currently on your device, then learn how to edit or change the language in Office


When you’ve chosen the language, wait for the red icon to appear, it will look like the record icon on most smartphones when using the camera application. 


Remember to speak clearly, at a conversational pace.  Dictate will also recognize punctuation. Just say the name of the punctuation. you would like to type i.e. (For example: period, comma, question mark, new line, and so on.etc.

If you make a mistake or Dictate records the wrong word, move the your cursor to the incorrect word or phrase and delete it.

NOTE: This feature is available to Office 365 Subscribers only. If the Dictate feature is not working for you, please refer to our troubleshooting article.

With speech recognition technology, Dictate makes your writings fast and flow more naturally. The demands of everyday life can lead to distractions while trying to write, negatively impacting productivity. If you need to multitask during the day or simply don’t like being tied to the chair, Dictate is the perfect solution for easily capturing your important thoughts. Using the Dictate feature will help not only save your time in creating documents, but also make these tasks less daunting and tedious.

If you want to see if Dictate is the correct feature for your needs, see Dictate in action video!